Defence constructions

21 February 2018

Defence constructions

Defence constructions in Tusheti are called fortresses. Like residential houses they are supplied with all the necessary details  but are also equipped with military devices. In the past there used to be at least one fortress in every village, sometimes even more. In the first half of XX century many of them were converted into dwelling places solely and for these changes  the people used mud and shale, sometimes lime. There are two types of fortresses, one with a top and the other covered with ,,sipi” flat, smooth stones. Those with tops are square, narrow and higher.

The second type of fortresses are lower and wider. Yet, both types possess common features for military purposes. This is “chardakhi” or “qavi” (rampart) which was added to all the four walls of the upper floor- a box like, narrowing towards the top, floor-less construction.

The gun-ports are on the top floor, some cut horizontally in the walls, some directed downwards.

Both fortresses were used similarly, i.e. they had the same functions: the first floor is low and without a window used normally for locking captives, while upper floors were occupied by families themselves who were seeking safety during invasions. The top floor, often the sixth one, was meant for military purposes.

At the turn of XIX-XX centuries a new kind of dwelling place emerges in Tusheti. They are without the ground floor (“bashte”) and have only living quarters. These houses are usually two-storeyed wth an attic. Again shale is used for building material. Some houses have flat earth roofs. The floors are made of wood. Windows are larger and with windowpanes. The second floor walls where the family lives are plastered and whitewashed from both sides and decorated with various images. The wooden carved painted balcony with pillars runs along the whole façade sometimes at the sides as well. The balcony roof is covered with smooth slates and is on the same level as the main roof.